Avalon Rooter

Why Does Sludge Form In My Sewer?

March 9, 2023
Sewer Services

Why Does Sludge Form In The Pipes Of Your
Oakland, CA Home?

Understanding Sludge Can Help Keep Your
Sewer System Running Smoothly

If you’ve noticed that the drains or toilets of your Oakland, CA, home are running slower than usual, it may mean that sludge has built up in the pipes. Even with routine maintenance, some sludge is inevitable for all homeowners. However, by understanding sludge and how it forms, you can keep it from overtaking your plumbing system.

Even though sludge is unavoidable, it doesn’t mean you can’t mitigate its effects. By understanding what sludge is and how it forms, you can take steps to reduce its build-up in your plumbing system.

What Is Sludge And How Does It Form?

At its most basic, sludge is a combination of organic and inorganic solids which can form over time due to a buildup of grease, oil, soap scum, dirt, and other particles. Every time you pour something down the drain, small particles are left behind and over time form a thick sludge.

Sludge is the generic term given to all types of sediment found in the sewer drain line. Think about everything that goes down the drains of your tub and sink and everything that you flush – this all leads to sludge formation

When you shower and use soap to wash away the grime of the day – all the bacteria you are washing away goes down the drain. Likewise, when you are washing dishes in the sink and scrubbing the stuck-on cheese from your plate, particles collect on the walls of your pipes.

In both scenarios, once you finish the task, you turn off the water and go about your day. However, while the water may be draining in your pipes, the bacteria, debris, and particles are not all leaving the pipes.

Your pipes are never quite dry, creating the perfect breeding grounds for mold and bacteria growth. As the bacteria and waste sits, it starts to adhere to the inside of the pipe. Over time, the area where the bacteria sits will begin to grab onto food particles and waste products that you flush down the toilets or sinks.

Ultimately, the sludge starts to grow and take over the pipes until you have a significant clog or a major sewer issue. You may even notice that you smell sewage in your home because the sludge is giving off an odor — after all, it is bacteria and waste.

What To Do About Sludge In Your Sewer?

You can reduce the sludge in your sewer pipes in several ways so that it does not form a major clog or causes a sewage backup in your Oakland, CA, home.

  1. After running your dishwasher or hand washing your dishes, run hot water down the sink to carry any grease, bacteria, and the like through the pipes.
  2. While running your garbage disposal, run cold water simultaneously to help flush the items down the pipe.
  3. To avoid a lot of food particles, hair, and other debris from going down your pipes, be sure to place strainers on all the drains in your home, including in the shower.
  4. Avoid putting certain foods like coffee grounds, eggshells, flour, and fibrous foods in the garbage disposal.
  5. Never put foods in your garbage disposal that expand in water, like pasta, rice, risotto, or the like – as these will clog the pipe and add to the sludge level.

Several chemicals on the market are sold to homeowners to prevent sludge from forming in their sewer pipes. However, frequent chemical use can eat through the pipes – causing sewer line breaks and leaks.

For this reason, chemicals and bleach are not the best option to clean your sewer lines in hopes of keeping sludge from forming. 

Instead, regular drain cleaning by professionals is one of the best ways to remove the sludge from your sewer pipes to avoid backups in your home later. 

How Drain Cleaning Works

Professional drain cleaning utilizes a method that does not involve harsh chemicals. A specialized tool is pushed down your drain and into your sewer lines. This tool automatically starts to scrape the sides of the pipes to remove the sludge and buildup that may be present. 

Next, water is flushed down the drain lines to propel the removed sludge into the main sewer line and away from your Oakland, CA, home.

The added benefits of professional drain cleaning aside from removing the sludge from the lines is that you will notice the following:

  • Less smell from your drains as the bacteria that causes the smell has been removed
  • Drains will run faster since the water no longer has to slow down due to sludge
  • The chances of having a significant clog are significantly reduced

After having your drains professionally cleaned, you can then take steps to prevent sludge from depositing back into your pipes. However, no matter how careful you are with what goes down your drains, sludge happens. Your goal is to keep sludge from affecting your sewer lines to the point that you have a sewage backup in your home.

Free Estimates For Sludge Removal For Your
Oakland, CA Home

While sludge may be something that every Oakland, CA, homeowner is dealing with, when the sludge starts to affect your plumbing — you need professional help. Avalon Rooter is here to help remove sludge and ensure a smooth running system.